The Last of Us Review

the last of us promo

Hey guys! So now that I’ve had The Last of Us for a solid month, I can safely describe the game in two words. Simply amazing. I completed the story about a few weeks ago and have spent a lot of time with the multiplayer. One would think that the game is all about the story (from hearing countless reviews about just the story and/or promos), which in some respects it is, but The Last of Us is truly the “full package” game where a gamer can spend countless hours with it and not get bored. Remember from my last review where I mentioned that there are very few games that leave me speechless after a game is done? Well, The Last of Us is no exception and it did just that. I strongly believe that this entry from Naughty Dog is a huge step up from their previous three Uncharted titles and the development team deserves a job well done on such a great game. Warning: Possible spoilers ahead!

Setting

As many know, The Last of Us is set in a post-apocalyptic world where cities across the United States have been devastated by an “Infected” plague. You play as Joel, a man in his late 40’s to early 50’s who has seen death all around him for years because of the Infected breakout. He has become a hardened survivalist because of the situation around him, as well as many other survivors. The infection that was spread around the United States was cordyceps, which is a a genus of parasitic fungi. I’m glad that Naughty Dog gave the “Infected” some thought on a back story and not just write them off as zombies. I know there are many people out there who are a little tired of zombies.

Anywho, Joel fights to keep himself alive alongside his acquaintance Tess, as they are held up in Boston. In Boston, Joel keeps his distance from an anti-government faction called The Fireflies, as Joel’s brother Tommy leaves Joel a few years earlier to join them. Joel and Tess work as underground smugglers, scavenging whatever they can to help them survive. After their last smuggle, Joel and Tess kill an arms dealer who had sold their guns to the Fireflies. The Fireflies leader, Marlene, makes a deal with Joel and Tess that if they can transport something to a group of Fireflies at the Capitol Building, then they can have their weapons back and also be rewarded. I don’t want to reveal much more because this game is worth you playing and experiencing it for yourself!


Gameplay

Like the Uncharted series, The Last of Us plays a lot like watching a movie. You have times where you can be playing the game and your actions fluently transfer into a cinematic sequence that further immerses the player. You take control of Joel in the third-person view and the controls are straight forward; nothing overly complicated. It is truly a survival/action video game and you are able to use an “inventory” system due to carrying around a backpack. You can upgrade weapons, skills, and items throughout the game to help you fight through the Infected. One of things I love about the game is that in a survival setting, when you pick up a gun, you really have to think to yourself, “Ok, how many shots do I have with this and do I really need to use it right now?” Ammunition is scarce in the game (varies with all game difficulties) so you really need to use whatever you can find to defend yourself.

The story itself is excellent. There are definitely parts in the game that are not predictable at all, which is always something nice to us gamers. I won’t go into detail what happens after what I described above, but the story development team at Naughty Dog really did a great job. You will be thoroughly entertained in every moment. I completed the story in 18 hours (mind you, I explored just about everything and you should too) for just one difficulty. To get the platinum trophy, you will need to complete the game on all difficulties as well as all “plus” modes which are unlocked after you beat the game once. The multiplayer is also surprisingly excellent. The multiplayer itself is called “Factions” and the basic idea behind it is that you need to gather supplies to recruit more people to your clan/faction from week to week. If you do not gather enough supplies, some of your members could go hungry, become ill, or even die. You can link your Facebook profile to the game and that will populate your clan with your own Facebook friends’ names after you have gathered enough supplies needed to recruit for the given weeks.

The two game modes in Factions are called Supply Raid and Survivor. In Supply Raid, you have to gather parts and supplies as well as kill the enemy team. Respawns are allowed, but each team has a certain number of tickets. In Survivor, it is the same premise as Supply Raid but with no respawns. It is kind of like some of SOCOM‘s multiplayer with no respawns in a round. Overall, like I said, don’t worry….you will be entertained enough with the great story and Factions!


The Presentation

Overall, the game is absolutely beautiful. Liked I said before, the game plays a lot like experiencing a movie and the visuals that go along with all of the gameplay are spectacular. Everything you see in the game is very realistic and the development team was able to pull that off partly to the Havok physics engine. You can definitely tell Naughty Dog pushed the envelope with an in-house engine while creating the environments. You truly feel as if you are in Joel’s shoes walking around in areas that do not have electricity and are just overgrown with nature. Everything from the lighting in environments to the smallest details are done perfectly and it shows how hard the development team worked to get these things just right.

Score

Having completed the game and still enjoying Factions, The Last of Us definitely deserves a perfect score. I very much enjoyed every experience I had in the story and also with the multiplayer. I wish I could give it a 11/10 (or an infinity out of 10 if it was up to me!). I feel that Naughty Dog had lots of good “practice” and “warm ups” with all of their previous games to lead up to a strong, serious title that they can be very proud about. The hard work from all members of the Naughty Dog team truly are shown through what they have achieved with The Last of Us. I give the game a 10/10 as a perfect example of modern storytelling in the truest form of survival. The game also gets my vote for Game of the Year for 2013; it really deserves to have that title.

The game I am currently playing to review for you guys next is:

Tomb Raider 2013

Tomb Raider, released earlier this year by Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix, which follows the adventures of Lara Croft. I have heard from friends that this is a decent and much needed reboot for the Tomb Raider series. I will have much more feedback for you guys about the game when I finish it! Until next game.

– John